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Dramatic climate changes for cities like S'pore by 2050: Study

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Study projects warmer seasons for countries in northern hemisphere while tropical nations like S'pore will face extreme weather events, acute droughts

WASHINGTON: By 2050, London's climate will resemble Madrid's today; Paris will be more like Canberra; Stockholm like Budapest and Moscow like Sofia, according to a new analysis that relied on optimistic projections.

The changes will be even more dramatic for the world's major tropical cities like Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Singapore, which will experience unprecedented climate conditions, resulting in extreme weather events and intense droughts.

The study was carried out by scientists from ETH Zurich and published in Plos One on Wednesday.

Researchers examined the climate of the world's 520 major cities using 19 variables that reflect variability in temperature and precipitation.

Future projections were estimated using established modeling that was intentionally optimistic, meaning it assumed carbon dioxide emissions would stabilise by the middle of the century through the implementation of green policies, with a mean global temperature increase of 1.4 deg C.

The team then compared climate similarity of current and future cities to one another, and the results make for dire reading.

Across the northern hemisphere, cities in 2050 will resemble places that are over 1,000km further south towards the equator. Those closer to the equator would not see drastic warming but would likely have more extremes of drought and rainfall.

Overall, 77 per cent of the world's cities will experience a "striking change" in climate conditions, while 22 per cent will experience "novel" conditions - something that has never before been encountered.

In Europe, summers and winters will get warmer, with average increases of 3.5 deg C and 4.7 deg C, respectively.

While the modelling used in the analysis is not new, the purpose of the paper was to organise the information in a way that will inspire policymakers to act.

"The point of this paper is to try to allow everyone to get a better grasp on what is happening with climate change," lead author Jean-Francois Bastin told AFP.

Mr Bastin, who is from Belgium, said: "It's been more than 30 years that most of us have agreed that there is a climate change which is caused by human activity, but still we fail to really transform that into global actions."